Days of Grace
Atmospheric Latin American action movie in the same vein as City of God and Elite Squad
Showing up at EIFF an oddly long while after its Cannes debut – it screened out of competition there not this year, not last year, but in 2011 – Everardo Gout’s debut makes a late addition to that canon of stylised, ultra-violent Latin American crime thrillers that also includes City of God and Elite Squad. Over the periods of three World Cups, one of those interconnected webs of people of which indie filmmakers are so incurably fond experiences a violent tangle of life-changing events. Gout, a prolific short filmmaker here making his feature-length debut, shows a flair for directing actors and for creating atmospheric visual sequences, often composed of single, beautifully-soundtracked tracking shots. The film’s sheer mad pile-up of gore, action, visual pyrotechnics and storylines is impressive, as is the unexpected depth of the accompanying emotional drama. But Gout has spent a little too much time studying other directors – Tarantino looms particularly large – for much of this to feel original; and he’s unfortunately failed to learn from any of them how to clearly distinguish the time periods of his interwoven threads of action. And in its last stages the film takes a narrative lurch that unbalances rather than pulling together the whole.
Screened as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013. Limited release from Fri 26 Jul.